/> The Juicy Beauty Word: Virus, Cold and Flu Season: Ways to prevent illness and get well faster

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Virus, Cold and Flu Season: Ways to prevent illness and get well faster

epsom salts bathtub
We don't feel beautiful or look beautiful at all when we are sick. COVID 19 running rampant and flu season is quickly approaching so unfortunately, there is more opportunity to get sick.

My daughter's good friend came down with the flu. She is a teacher so she is exposed to many germs that can cause illness.  The CDC says flu season can start as early as October and end as late as May.  That's a long season!

The CDC, doctors, and even the drugstores promote getting the flu vaccine but I hate the idea putting a virus, whether it's dead or not, into my body. As for COVID, the COVID 19 vaccines are not proving to be as effective against the Delta variant.

For me, serious prevention and immune system support are the keys to staying healthy and fighting off viruses quickly.

Our Immune System in a Nut Shell

Our immune system is designed to recognize an invading pathogen and destroy it.  The quick acting innate immune system jumps in first producing more mucus and some inflammation. It is our natural immune system. It's purpose is to prevent infection, eliminate pathogens and stimulate the acquired immune response. You may get a runny nose, have a fever or get a sore throat when the innate immune system is stimulated.

B lymphocytes (B cells) and T lymphocytes (T cells) kick in to work together to recognize, make antibodies for and destroy the invading germ. These cells makeup the acquired immune system or antigen-specific immune response. This acquired part of our immune system develops throughout our lives. The B cells produce the antibodies that recognize the pathogen.  The T cells find the infected cells and destroy them. 

It is interesting that the B cells and T cells are both produced in the bone marrow. The T cells leave the bone marrow and migrate to the thymus. The thymus gland is a lymphatic organ which is located in the chest between the lungs. That's where the T in T cells comes from! The thymus gland shrinks as we get older.

Interesting tidbit: the thymus get it's name from thyme because it is shaped like a thyme leaf.

The body continuously generates immune cells. It actually makes more immune cells than we can use. Extra cells die off. So we don't need increase production of immune cells. We do need to keep their normal production in good working order.

There are a lot simple things we can do every day to keep ourselves healthy and keep our immune systems in tip top shape. Some of these things we all know, like washing our hands. 

There are other things we can to do stay healthy that we just don't think of, like keeping our handbags clean.  Here is my list of my favorite tips to stay healthy and beautiful! Many of these things will also help you heal faster if you do happen to get sick.
airborne immune support

 Easy Things You Can Do To Stay Healthy and Also, Get Well Faster

Foods and Nutrients:
People swear by Airborne. It's an immune support supplement full of vitamins, minerals and herbs to help strengthen your immune system.  Chew 1-4 tablets at a time. You can take it 3 times per day. It really seems to help the immune system fight off illnesses.

Vitamin C
I swear by Vitamin C! Vitamin C supports the immune system allowing you to fight off colds and flus better. It also helps keep you looking younger, by the way! The body uses Vitamin C to build collagen which keeps our skin firm and young looking.  Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, sweet green peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits and in supplement form. The RDA for women is 75 mg and 90 mg for men. Taking up to 1000mg per day is considered safe.

Vitamin D
Vitamin is another immune system enhancing vitamin. Plus, it can help reduce the spread of some viruses. It's also good for bone health. Research suggests activates T cells for fighting cancer and preventing respiratory infections in older adults.

The skin synthesizes Vitamin D from the sun. Many people are deficient in Vitamin D maybe because of the high use of sunscreen to protect our skin from skin cancer and UV damage. The vitamin D council tells us a person with medium toned light colored skin only needs about 15 minutes of strong direct sun light exposure over a large portion of skin daily. The darker the skin, the longer the sun exposure time is to get the good dose.

Plus, researchers have found that blue light from the sun causes the T cells to move faster which may help them reach an infection faster. 

There are only a few good food sources. Good food sources of Vitamin D include oily fish, egg yolks, and fortified foods such as various milks, oranges juice and cereals. You can also take Vitamin D supplements. The recommended daily allowance is 600 IU for ages 1-70. 800 IU for those over 70.

A blood test will determine you Vitamin D level.

Studies have shown that zinc lozenges, such as cold-EEZE can shorten a cold virus when taken at the first signs of a cold. Some scientists believe the zinc ions release from the lozenge interfere with the virus's ability to replicate.

Green Tea
This is another remedy I swear by! Green tea contains a powerful anti-oxidant called Epigallo Catechin  (EGCG).  This anti-oxidant fights free radicals, fights the adenovirus (a cold virus), repairs DNA, inhibits the growth of cancer cells, increases metabolism and is anti-inflammatory. Black tea and white are beneficial as well. 

Matcha green tea is a powdered form of green tea. It's a super concentrated anti oxidant power house! It's a lovely shade of green and can mixed with water and used as a tea or used as an ingredient in recipes. 1 glass of matcha tea equals 10 glasses of regular green tea. That will fire up the old immune system!!!
Eat more Fruits and Veggies
Increase the amount of colorful fruits and veggies that you eat. Fruits and vegetables are high in those magical defensive anti oxidants, minerals and vitamins. These plant chemicals help you fight off viruses and keep the body strong and healthy. I swear by my high anti oxidant vegetarian diet!

Eat Yogurt. The probiotics yogurt contains can help boost the activity of immune system cells helping you fight viruses. Just buy yogurts that are lower in sugar. Chobani make a delicious less sugar Greek yogurt with only 9 grams of sugar per 5.3 oz. serving as opposed to 17 grams+ in regular Greek yogurts. 

Use a lot of garlic in your cooking. Garlic contains compounds including allicin and diallyl sulphides to help fight viruses. Crush or chop your garlic and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes to trigger an enzyme reaction that boosts the compounds. I make a minestrone soup full of garlic, basil and oregano at the first sign of feeling under the weather. Oregano is also known for it's immune system boosting anti oxidants. Minestrone is the medicine at my house!

Drink water. A hydrated body is better at fighting off illness than a dehydrated body. Drink 6 to 8 glasses per day.

Limit Alcohol
Reduce your alcohol consumption. Too much alcohol can reduce your white blood cells' ability to fight viruses for up to 24 hours. 1 drink per day for women. 2 drinks per day for men.

Don't Touch It!:
Hands off the Face
Avoid touching your face. Cold and flu viruses could be on your hands just waiting to infect you through your mouth, nose and eyes. Don't bite your nails. Germs may be lurking under your nails.

Proper Hand Washing
Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Suds up with soap and warm water for 20-30 seconds and rinse well. Sing the ABC's song to make sure your are washing long enough! 🎶 A regular soap, not antibacterial, will do the job without creating resistant bacterial bugs. Always apply hand lotion after washing to help prevent the skin from becoming dry and dehydrated.

Use Hand Sanitizer
Use an alcohol based hand sanitizer and alcohol based wipes if you are in a place where you can't wash your hands. 

Wipe it down
Take advantage of the wipes many stores provide. Wipe your shopping cart handle with a wipe at the grocery store.  Use alcohol based wipes on doors and plumbing handles in public bathrooms. Use a paper towel to protect your hand when opening the door to exit the public bathroom. Wipe down the keyboard of a shared computer at work and the phone that is shared at work before you use it. Keep a pack of wipes handy in your car and in your handbag. Speaking of your handbag...

Clean your Handbag
We set our handbags down everywhere. I don't even want to think about what germs are on them! Carry a handbag that is made of a material that you can wipe down frequently with an alcohol based wipe. Whatever you do, don't put your handbag down on the floor of a public bathroom!!!😬

Clean your Phone
Keep your cell phone clean with alcohol based wipes. We set them down everywhere like we do with our handbags. They can be full of germs and then we touch them.

Use your Elbows!
Use your elbows to push elevator buttons, automatic door opening buttons, etc. 

Body Care:
Epsom Salt
Take an warm Epsom salt bath at the first sign of illness. It will to dilate the blood vessels and boost circulation, decrease cold and flu symptoms and promote quicker healing. Epsom Salt, which is Magnesium Sulfate, eases muscle aches, detoxifies the body and actually raises white blood cell counts. 

Dissolve 2 cups of Epsom Salt in a warm bath. Relax and soak for 20 minutes. You can find Epsom Salt in your local drugstore, superstore or on my go to site, Amazon.
Get a Massage
A study done at the Cedar-Sinai Medical Center showed that a 45 minute Swedish massage significantly boosted levels NK cells and T lymphocytes, which are virus fighters, in the blood. 

Certain plants contain very powerful anti bacterial and anti viral chemical compounds. Essential oil is derived from plants and has been used since ancient times to heal and prevent disease. Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils for relaxation and health benefits. 

Many oils have high anti viral and anti bacterial  properties. Geranium, lavender, rosemary, peppermint, lemon, cinnamon, ginger, clove, basil, thyme, oregano, tea tree, ravensara, frankincense, and eucalyptus are a few good ones.  

Youngliving has a well known anti microbial essential oil blend called Thieves. It contains a blend of the essential oils clove, lemon, cinnamon bark, eucalyptus and rosemary. So why is it called Thieves?

The story behind it goes like this: back in the 15 century when the plague was taking lives, a group of thieves would rub oils on themselves to protect themselves from getting sick as they robbed the dead and dying. They gave up their formula when they were caught in exchange for a more lenient punishment. 

How to Use Essential Oils

The Thieves essential oil blend has been shown to kill bacteria and viruses. You don't take it internally but you apply it to your skin, particularly, the bottoms of your feet. This is a very powerful oil that must be diluted in a carrier oil such as olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil.  Only 1 drop of Thieves should be added to 15 drops of the carrier oil. 

Youngliving Thieves

Shop for Thieves in Amazon!

Youngliving has even created Thieves cleaning products to help keep your home germ free.

Youngliving thieves household cleaner

Shop for Thieves Household Cleaner on Amazon!

Almost every essential oil used straight out of the bottle is too strong. Always mix them in a carrier oil. Mix 5 drops of a single essential oil into 1 tablespoon of oil. Avocado and sunflower oils are more nice oils to use as carrier oils. Massage the oil mixture on your skin to get the healthy benefit from the essential oils.

Essential oils can also be mixed with distilled water and diffused into the air using a cold-air essential oil diffuser. A diffuser creates a fine mist of essential oils in the air that can help kill germs and remove air born germs by making the fall to the ground. 

Essential oils can be mixed with distilled water and sprayed into the air using a spray bottle as well.

Never diffuse or spray essential oils if you have cats and never apply essential oil to a cat. 

Cats are unable to metabolize essential oils. Diffused, sprayed or applied essential oils will build up in a cat's body and become toxic. A cat can die due to the toxic build up.

You can find essential oils at health food stores, some drugs stores and Amazon.

Get your Beauty Sleep
Sleep 7-9 hours per night. A tired body is less resistant to illness and a tired body takes longer to fight off an infection.

Use a Humidifier  
Moist air effects how viruses linger in the air. Dry air allows them to float around, while moist air makes them heavy and fall to the ground or floor faster. Moist air, above 40% humidity, also helps to deactivate virus particles. A humidifier moistens our noses and airways to help keep them clear. Our skin also benefits by staying more moisturized in higher humidity.

Try meditation to reduce stress hormones and strengthen your immune system. Meditation has always been a challenge for my busy brain! Guides sound meditation does work for me, though. Here is a site to help get you started with 6 steps on how to meditate. 

Exercise 30 to 60 minutes a day to boost your immune system. Exercise increases the blood circulation which keeps the germ fighting immune system cells flowing efficiently through the body. Another challenge for me! Try walking. It's an easy, low impact way to get some exercise.

Well, there you have it. My favorite immune boosting tips. I hope they help you stay beautiful and healthy all year long!

       Have a Safe & Healthy Day! 
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist
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